ATENEO overcame a sluggish start and UST could not recover from being shaken up as Eya Laure suffered an injury as the Lady Eagles scored a 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15victory on Wednesday in the UAAP women’s volleyball finals at the MOA Arena.
The Lady Eagles evened the series 1-1, extending the showdown to a decider on Saturday.
Laure landed awkwardly on her left ankle at the start of the third set and was carried out of the court.
She was brought back in late in the third but UST could not regain its rhythm as Ateneo caught fire.
The Lady Eagles halted the Tigresses’ win streak at nine matches, while also spoiling Sisi Rondina’s MVP in front of her parents.
The Tigresses were trailing 19-21 when Laure was sent back in. Her first attack attempt went too low before Deanna Wong’s service ace and Bea De Leon’s off the block hit sealed the set for Ateneo.
The Lady Eagles rode the momentum with a 13-5 start in the fourth set. With Laure limping, UST managed to trim a 12-point deficit to eight, 21-13, but could not get any closer.
Maddie Madayag led Ateneo with 17 points off 10 attacks, four blocks and three service aces.
“Of course, pumapasok talaga sa isip namin na it might be our last game, but kino-cross out namin,” said Madayag, who was hailed as 2nd Best Middle Blocker of the season. “Lalaban talaga kami, we won't go down without a fight.”
“Today's game, we really played our best. We really worked as a team,” she added.
Graduating team captain Bea De Leon also stepped up when it mattered most for Ateneo with 13 points, while Best Opposite Spiker Kat Tolentino delivered 11 points.
Libero Dani Ravena also rose to the occasion with 22 digs and 12 excellent receptions and a dig that put Ateneo at match point, 24-13, before UST rookie KC Galdones committed that crucial service errors.
Ponggay Gaston had nine points and 12 digs, while Jules Samonte added seven markers and made 16 excellent receptions.
Rondina had with 22 points on top of 16 digs and eight excellent receptions, while Laure had 10 markers.